(Image from Amazon. Used for review purposes only.)
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Grade: A
In the Nadesico entry, I mentioned that I'd watched parts of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor when I was first in Tokyo. I couldn't see the entire series, but I did like what I'd been able to catch. I've now got the complete DVD set in my hands, and I'm pretty happy at being able to finally figure out the story.
Tylor is based on a series of light novels by Hitoshi Yoshioka, entitled "Uchu Ichi no Musekinin Otoko" (The Most Irresponsible Man in Space). The anime came out 3 years before Nadesico, and there are so many similarities that it's almost impossible to not accuse Kia Asamiya of ripping off the earlier work and being completely incompetent at it. Every thing that Nadesico gets wrong, Tyler gets right. There's a real story, real character development, silly jokes, and even the same beauty contest, which works within context. Yes, Tyler is also a silly story, and the character designs fall apart in the middle of the series, but the jokes are funny and they don't get in the way of the more serious elements.
Justy Ueki Tylor starts out as a down-on-his-luck homeless guy living on the streets, surrounded by empty cup noodle containers. He happens to see a big-screen ad for the United Planets Space Force and decides to enlist to get an easy paycheck. He destroys the aptitude sorting computer while trying to womanize the female AI, and is initially posted to the pension department. While attempting to deliver a pension check to a retired, bed-ridden admiral, he accidentally foils a kidnapping plot and gets promoted to captain his own space ship - the derelict Soyokaze. He seems to simply be clueless and inordinately lucky, but most of his successes in battle have elements of premeditation behind them. Tyler is also much more aware of his surroundings than he lets on, identifying the alien spy the second she asks for permission to board the ship as the second on-staff doctor. But, his personality is so open and honest that he eventually turns everyone to his side. The main plot is that the UPSF is at war with the Raalgon Empire. Both sides have generals that want the war, while the Raalgon empress, 16-year-old Azalyn, and Tyler himself, are just trying to avoid being assassinated.
Tyler was dubbed by The Right Stuf, which is right there a step up from anything released by ADV. On the other hand, I still didn't want to listen to the American voice actors. The music is great, and I especially enjoyed the use of western classical in the later episodes. The animation quality is mostly good, but kept reminding me of early Lupin III. The space fight scenes are good, and ships are really detailed. The story is similar in atmosphere to the Dirty Pair, while I was constantly reminded of the more absurd works of Robert Sheckley (The 10th Victim, Hunter/Victim).
Overall, I enjoyed Tyler a lot. Highly recommended.